Detection and complete genome characterization of a novel RNA virus related to members of the Hepe-Virga clade in bird species, hoopoe (Upupa epops)

Gábor Reuter, Ákos Boros, Róbert Mátics, Beatrix Kapusinszky, Eric Delwart, Péter Pankovics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Using viral metagenomics, next-generation sequencing and RT-PCR techniques a genetically divergent hepevirus-like RNA virus was identified and characterized from a faecal sample of wild bird species, hoopoe (Upupa epops) in Hungary. The complete viral genome sequence of hoopoe/BBanka01/2015/HUN (GenBank accession number MN852439) is 7052 nt long including a 54-nt 5′ and an 18-nt 3′ non-coding region without poly(A)-tail. Sequence analysis indicated that the hoopoe/BBanka01/2015/HUN genome has potentially three overlapping open reading frames (ORFs). The ORF1 (6558 nt/2185aa) encodes a long, non-structural polyprotein (replicase) including putative functional domains and conserved aa motifs of methyltransferase with domain Y, RNA helicase and RdRp and has <33% aa identity to the known hepe- and hepe-like viruses. The ORF2 (1446 nt/481aa) encodes a putative structural (capsid) protein overlapping with ORF1 but translated in different coding frame. The functions of the short ORF3 (426 nt/141aa) were not predictable. Similar virus sequences were not detected from samples from 21 further bird species. The taxonomic position of this novel virus is presently unknown.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104236
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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